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Severe agitation in severe early-onset Alzheimer’s disease resolves with ECT

Authors Aksay SS, Hausner L, Frölich L, Sartorius A

Received 11 July 2014

Accepted for publication 7 August 2014

Published 13 November 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 2147—2151

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S71008

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Suna Su Aksay, Lucrezia Hausner, Lutz Frölich, Alexander Sartorius

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany

Abstract: Dementia-related behavioral disturbances are mostly treated with antipsychotics; however, the observed beneficial effects are modest and the risk of serious adverse effects high. We report the case of a 57-year-old woman with severe early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and severe agitation, whom we treated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). A significant clinical improvement was achieved over eight ECT sessions, which were tolerated well without cognitive worsening, and lasted approximately 3 months. Our case demonstrates the safe and effective use of ECT in pharmacotherapy-resistant severe agitation in Alzheimer’s disease. The risk–benefit profile of ECT for dementia-related agitation should be further investigated in clinical trials.

Keywords: dementia, electroconvulsive therapy, cognition, emotional distress, disinhibition.

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